Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cranberry Orange Gems

Isn't this the prettiest little sandwich cookie.. and a perfect festive Holiday cookie? It was a winner in a cookie contest in NJ and it is a little gem.
The combination of the tartness of the cranberries and the orange flavor is wonderful and the cookie is not too sweet. The filling provides enough sweetness, especially if you use semi sweet chocolate or white chocolate ( which I tried, and love!).
It's similar to a shortbread cookie, using a few simple ingredients.
I tried some using white chocolate because I love the combination of cranberry and white chocolate. I actually liked this better than the dark chocolate, but it's just a matter of preference. I didn't put the orange into the filling using the white chocolate so the orange flavor isn't that intense this way.

Begin by creaming the butter and sugar in a standing mixer.

Chop the cranberries into small pieces.

Mix the flour and salt in a small bowl and blend into the butter mixture along with the chopped cranberries.

Add the orange oil or orange zest, if using. I used the zest and grated it directly into the mixer bowl over the dough so all the zest and oils get in there to get the most flavor.

Place the dough into plastic wrap and refridgerate for 1 hour.

After an hour, place the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll out to 1/4" thickness.

Cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter ( I liked this pretty flower design).
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or til barely brown on edges.
Cool completely before filling.
Make the filling of your choice ( either with dark or white chocolate) and put approx. one teaspoonful onto one cookie and top with another cookie to make a sandwich.
And there you have a little gem!
Cranberry Orange Gems

1 cup unsalted butter
6 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup dried cranberries ( finely chopped )
1 tsp. orange oil or 2 tsp. orange zest ( I used zest )
1 cup bittersweet chocolate or semi sweet ( for a sweeter cookie )
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp. orange oil or 1/2 tsp. orange zest ( I omitted this for the white chocolate filling)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease baking sheet or sprinkle sheet lightly with sugar.
1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. In a small bowl, mix together flour and salt.
3. Blend into butter/sugar mixture.
4. Add cranberries and oil ( or zest). Blend thoroughly.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic and refridgerate for 1 hour.
6. Place the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll out to 1/4" thickness.
7. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter.
8. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or til barely brown on edges.
9. Cool completely before filling.
10. Melt chocolate in double boiler over low heat. Add butter pieces and stir til melted.
Add oil ( or zest ).
11. Spoon a teaspoonful of filling to one cookie and place another on top to make a sandwich.
The filling will firm up at room temp.

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